Session 11 (10/14/13)
Day 55—October 7, 2081
PLANNING INTERLUDE & FIRST BANQUET: Seeking Yellow vs Green Pearl Discussion/ “Surely the Torrent of This Rolling Storm Has Extinguished the Flaming Lotus.”
—Len describes Crab clan w/ yellow (fire) pearl: live in fortress, obsessed w/ honor. Mei Ling married in for status. She always resented her family forcing her to become a Guardian to boost their own status, which is why she betrayed her station. She also has a jealously guarded reputation as finest dancer, a.ka. “the Flaming Lotus.” She’s been known to personally hunt down & kill any young woman who challenges her supreme dancer reputation.
—We decide to lure Mei Ling (keeper of the yellow pearl) out of the fortress by finding/promoting an exquisitely SUPERIOR young dancer.
—Disguised (see paper notes for details), we visit Goran for intel. Barely save him from Scorpion assassin venom (2 uses of Duffy’s Restorative Ointment gone). He thinks Mei Jing sent assassin and will relocate. Yi can always find him
—Goran tells us green (earth) pearl is with Unicorns, extremely competitive/unified arrogant. They keep to themselves, finding combat or interaction with outsiders beneath them, and if you attack one they will all retaliate.
—Goran also speaks of Xao-lu’s son/the Warlord. Close pair, devastated when Dad fled, has uncanny knack for always getting up again when brought down in a fight.
—Goran says one can summon Yi by ringing the bell in the hall in the middle of the city, where the Dragon Clan once presided. The Dragon (emperor) cursed the building in his death throes, but whomever controls that citadel controls the city.
—Goran says children know rituals for speaking to the soul of the city.
—We return to ship to ask Len about ritual. He says a lone person can talk to Yi by whispering his name three times into a solitary shadow.
—Richard tries this in the city & asks Yi who Xu’s best young female dancer is aside from Mei Jing. Yi says the Crane Clan’s Rolling Cloud Troupe lead dancer: Akane of the Five Storms.
—Richard returns to ship & we plan a huge banquet where we’ll commission Akane and her troop to peform. Munthraurix & Herald Len “suit up” & get invitations out for next week. Banquet cost: 5,000 gp.
Day 62—October 14, 2081
—Akane wows the banquet crowd w/ dance performance. Muntharaurix causes furor of whispering/rumors by uttering, “Surely the torrent of this Rolling Storm has put out the Flaming Lotus.” Akane’s brother, Hikaru Todo, interprets Munthraurix’s open admiration as a declaration of courtship. Moti, in attendance, seemed offended by slight to Mei Ling. No Crabs were spotted.
Day 63—October 15, 2081
Daunting Proposals/ “It Was the Will of the Heavens That You Lift Me Out of Perdition!”
—Next day Flinn, Len, & Munthraurix visit Crane estate. Todo asks for progress & blue pearl & is told there was none. Munthraurix offers to defend Akane cuz’ his praise endangered her, but Todo has BIGGER plans. Todo wants Munthraurix to marry Akane after he leads an attack on the Crabs’ fortress. Todo plans a banquet to discuss battle plans, despite Munthraurix’s protests that they should wait till the Cranes get their pearl back or till the Crabs’ leave their fortress’ safety.
—We return to Shrike the ship. View Len through trueseeing gem: he’s a glowing Samsaran (reincarnating race).
Day 64—October 16, 2081
SECOND BANQUET: Crane’s War Plans/ “Your Compliment to My Sister Made Your Intentions Quite Clear, and I Look Forward to Calling You Brother”
—Crane banquet (disguises for Duffy as water suli-jann & Flinn/Richard as elves). Todo announces Sovelis has “committed himself to Cranes” & plays courtship song. Munthraurix says he can’t marry till he returns the blue pearl. (Later Munthraurix prepares ‘reverse dowery’ but doesn’t announce it.) Duffy engages Len to find out other suitors for Akane that could be encouraged to marry her so Sovelis won’t have to.
—Generals, including Jangwei the chief strategist, discuss the attack. Jangwei will have agents try to bribe the Scorpions that the Crabs have on retainer to betray them. Todo/Generals plan to lure Mei Jing out w/ a decoy Akane at a 3rd opulent banquet. Party does not favor this idea cuz’ it puts the banquet guests at risk. We propose instead setting a trap for Mei Jing while Akane is rehearsing and potentially vulnerable.
Session 12 (10/28/13)
Still Day 64—October 16, 2081
Encounter 20: Acquiring the Red & Green Pearls by Force/ “Me Throat’s a Bit Dry”
—Return to Shrike ship to debate how to avert Crane/Crabs slaughter? Siege? Delay w/ wedding of Akane to…someone? Then begins a round of Send Messaging and crises quickly develop:
—Send Message from Mei Jing to Sovelis/Munthraurix, threatening to kill his bride to be. He taunts her back w/ reply.
— Send Message from War Lord to Sovelis saying he’s had a vision war will break out soon. Munthraurix sends back plea for peace.
—Len gives Duffy w/ list of suitors for Akane: Hu Che-Er (Unicorns), Mao Lan (Scorpions, unlikely), Bu Cao (Cranes). She asks what Unicorns value most (to make Akane seem attractive to Unicorn suitor). Len replies loyalty and family, e.g., family are always given clemency; they also value the green pearl in the guan dao (blade).
—Send Message from War Lord to Munthraurix saying he’ll “restore peace w/ his white flame” and his forces are ready to “restore truth to all.”
—Send Message from Akane to Duffy asking how she can win Sovelis’ heart. They message back and forth, Duffy trying to interest her in the 3 suitors Len named & claiming “Sovelis’ heart belongs to a dragon.” Akane firmly rejects all but Sovelis & interprets “the dragon” as a fierce woman’s nickname.
—Send Message from Jangwei to Munthraurix: “Scorpions secured. Orders?” In reply the dragon born asks if the Crab fortress has a food supply and stock, and whether Mei Jing knows about the “fake Akane,” Ding Wei. Jangwei asks “You mean the false Akane lure?”
—Send Message from Yi to Flinn: “How are things going, student?” Flinn: “Throat’s a bit dry.”
—Send Message from Todo to Sovelis saying Mei Jing/the Crabs have burned down the theater where Akane’s troupe practiced. Akane/the Cranes are marching against the Crabs, who are themselves marching back to the bridge leading to their platform.
—Send Message from Moti to Sovelis: “I can change all of this.” When asked what the price would be, he claims he doesn’t want anything from us.
—Richard speed flies to burn site and starts healing victims. Next he waits for the Crabs to start crossing the drawbridge to their platform & begins smashing the bridge while they cross.
—The rest of the party speeds in Shrike the ship to join the fray. COMBAT! Party vs Mei Jing. Munthraurix flies out, soon followed by Duffy and Flinn riding Polly. As the Crabs fall from the broken bride, Mei Jing flies up with wings of red flame. She’s wielding a rifle containing the yellow pearl. “Consume them!” she cries, firing at Richard and Munthraurix.
—Mei Jing is defeated. As she falls (still being pummeled by Richard for maximum impact), Duffy smells vanilla, same scent as Lady Alita. (Lady Alita was a half-elf caster, mercenary hired by Manx. She was from Humanus & had married into the Zarinth dragon noble family. Last time we saw her was in Rek’s temple. He put her in stasis as our prisoner after we defeated her to stop her from seizing the perfect alchemical blood she was killing people to find.) Mei Jing hits the ground so hard she’s decapitated.
—Munthraurix grabs the yellow pearl rifle, so hot it still burns him through his fire immunity. He receives another Send Message from Todo: “You’ve done me proud, Brother. Banquet tonite in your honor. I am behind you. Press the attack against the Crabs!” He replies, “Not now! We must wait for Jangwei’s agents to sow dissent, then spring the trap.” Todo warns him not to disappoint & looks forward to meeting him in the peach garden soon.
—Richard flies up to the leader of the Crab clan and asks for a peaceful surrender. Their leader is furious his wife was just murdered & doesn’t want peace. Richard grapples Crab leader & determines he’s not evil. Crab attacks him w/ force damage, hurts him. Richard drops him. Duffy feather fall spells the Crab to slow his descent.
—Richard Sends Message to Hu Che-Er (Unicorns) “Save Akane while her clan attacks the Crabs, and surely she’ll marry you.” No reply.
—Send Message from Warlord to Munthruarix: “I am coming!” As Sovelis he warns Todo & Jangwei that the Warlord is coming & urges them to ally w/ Crab leader against him. Then Munthraurix retrieves the slowly falling Crab leader & urges him to ally w/ Todo/Cranes against the Warlord, who will destroy them all if unchecked. Crab attacks Munthraurix for force damage, & dragon born retaliates w/ Strength-weakened gas breath. He flies away, & Crab leader is left feather falling once again.
—Munthraurix advises Jangwei to trap the Warlord between his forces and the Crabs. Jangwei agrees & says he’ll call in favors. Asks where Munthraurix will be. Dragon noble answers honestly he’s going to go get the green pearl artifact from the Unicorns. Jangwei claims he “didn’t hear that in all the wind.”
—Munthraurix flies over to the Unicorns’ platform, now covered in brambles for defense. Richard & rest of party pursue. The dragonborn points the yellow pearl gun at the platform and yells “Be consumed!” It works way too well. An enormous fireball erupts from the barrel and the weapon goes gray. The brambles burn and the platform’s supports start burning & melting, & many Unicorns perish. Vines barely hold the platform together, tilted.
—A tree trunk rises out of the wreckage w/ ten Unicorn clan folk on top. “To the ends of the Earth we’ll hunt you,” they call out. Richard tries to persuade them to turn over the artifact (or as he puts it, “return the stolen Dragon Lord’s plunder”) & promises no further harm will come to them. They denounce him as a murderer & say death won’t stop them from rising as spirits & seeking righteous vengeance. (They do NOT detect as evil.)
—Moti appears beside Munthraurix & offers “I can change this. You have displaced these innocents and abused the artifacts.” Moti does NOT detect as evil. “Layer upon layer you keep making your mark upon this world, whatever you do,” he warns. When he won’t wish for Moti’s help, Moti says “Maybe I’ll find your companions & ask them.”
—Richard offers to do his utmost to restore their dead to life if they’ll give him the green pearl artifact, & they agree. But they also demand an oath, bound by geas, that Munthraurix will make restitutions for the dead & never harm the Unicorns again. Dragon noble takes oath/geas, & Richard accepts the dagger w/ the green pearl.
BIG DECISIONS: Selecting an Emperor/ “I Wish It Didn’t Have to Be Len, So He Could Keep Traveling With Me and Be Supersweet On My Behalf.”
—Richard talks to Yi via shadows. Yi says the Citadel must be reclaimed so a new leader can unite the whole city. He asks us to choose leader since his last choice failed, & claims each clan has its own merits.
—We talk to Len about each clan. He advises avoiding the clans in the conflict already (Cranes/Crabs/Phoenix). But he says a Phoenix (NOT the Warlord) could bring renewal, specifically the twins Yoh & Goh. The Bear Clan is compassionate but slow to expand. The Spiders would advance trade. The Lions would care greatly & would try to take smaller settlements under their care.
—We ask Yi who the most exceptional person(s) in the city would be. Yi answers “Len and Hara,” says the latter is not Samsaran (reincarnated).
—We ask Len to become the new emperor of all Xu. He accepts & asks us for the four artifacts, which we give him. The green pearl dagger becomes a staff of office. The yellow pearl gun becomes a robe of office. He announces he can grant five magical blessings and perform four banishments and asks us to name them.
—We ask him to banish Moti and the Warlord. Two more?
—We ask a blessing of ceasefire to stop the war between the Crabs & Cranes.
—We ask a second blessing, of regrowth for the Unicorns. This brings back to life ¼ of the 80 lives that were lost.
—Two banishments left, & three blessings…
→ Dagger w/ green pearl. Gun w/ red pearl. Blessings/Banishments.